Cas Cas - The Shaker / Percussion Instrument Used by Daniel Waples

A favourite of Hang/HandPan musician, ‘Daniel Waples’, ‘Cas Cas’ are percussive / shaker instruments native to African countries, that are traditionally constructed from the gourds of the West African Swawa tree, filled with tiny pebbles, or beans, connected by small rope.

Also sometimes known as: ‘Aslatua’, or ‘Kashaka’ (among other names), Cas Cas can be played in many ways, but generally they are played by holding one gourd in the palm while simultaneously shaking and swinging the second gourd, using the hand and arm movement combined with gravity and speed to create rhythms.  And with a little practise, can be used to add some pretty effective one-man accompaniment to the sounds of the HandPan.

Cas Cas create both shaking sounds, and percussive clicks, and in addition to being a percussive instrument in their own right, Cas Cas are also useful as a skill-development tool: that can help improve dexterity, ambidexterity, brain hemispheric synchronization, and develop the ability to multi-task. It can also build muscle mass and improve flexibility in the hands, arms, shoulders and chest. And they are also used by some as a meditative tool, used to induce a trance state, promote relaxation, and lower stress levels.

As noted above, Daniel Waples has been responsible for introducing the Cas Cas to many within the HandPan world, and he can often be seen playing them in his videos with one hand, while continuing to play the Hang / HandPan with the other.  As can be seen in the video below…

The 'Ohm' HandPan - A HandPan / Steel Tongue Drum Hybrid

Introduced to the world on the 23rd of January, 2015, at the NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) show, held in Anaheim, CA, comes the ‘Ohm’ HandPan, the result of a collaboration between Dave’s Island Instrument's, and Hapi (arguably the world’s most recognisable name in commercially available steel tongue drums).  

Not content with bringing the world the first Electric HandPan (to our knowledge), DII (and Hapi) have now unleashed this ‘patent pending’ HandPan / Steel Tongue Drum hybrid instrument - an instrument that features both the tone fields as per a standard HandPan, but additionally, features a complimentary, and sympathetic, circle of tuned tongues.

Enthusiasm for this hybrid over at Facebook has been considerable, and while at time of posting, we only have the one video to go on, it does sound very sweet indeed. With 15 notes in total, the tuned-tongues combine a ghostlike resonance with the Ohm's bold sounding tone-fields - offering up something both familiar, yet very new.

"...this hybrid will change the world of handpans as we know it!" states one fan of the Ohm over at the DII Facebook page.  And while that may, or may not, prove to be true.  We'd certainly like to get our hands on one for a test-drive...

Gu to Bed - At this HandPan-Shaped Treehouse Hotel

The perfect get-away for the HandPan musician in need of quiet retreat, this giant Handpan-shaped hotel room can be found deep within the thick woods of the Swedish village of Harrads.  And while the village itself may only be called home by six hundred or so inhabitants, people are increasingly coming from far-and-wide, to visit the ‘Treehotel’ that can be found there -  home to this gigantic metallic Handpan, nestling among the trees.

Designed by by some of Scandinavia’s leading architects such as Martin Videgård and Bolle Tham as well asMårten & Gustav Cyrén, the hotel promises to reconnect its guests with nature.  And in addition to the Handpan-like UFO treehouse, there is also the ‘Mirror Cube’ treehouse, a mirror-enveloped cube-shaped treehouse, high among the trees, that seeks to blend in completely with its environment, and a huge bird’s nest themed treehouse, that from the outside at least, is pretty much what it says on the tin - while inside, things, are a little more luxurious.

At nearly $500+ a night this isn’t the cheapest lodgings that you’re likely to find, but, it is certainly unique.  And for us, taking a trip to see the locally-visible Northern Lights, would be the cherry on the top of a stay here - if, a Handpan-shaped treehouse with stairs leading straight up through the GU, were in need of such things, as cherries.  

Visit the Treehouse Hotel's website for more info: HERE

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